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Blog Category: Local

Report on Gross Domestic Product Statistics for Four U.S. Territories Released

Click for larger image. Pictured: Nikolao Pula, Director of the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior; Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; Pictured: Rebecca M Blank, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, U.S. Department of Commerce;  Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho, Northern Mariana Islands; Rep. Madeleine Bordallo, Guam; Rep. Eni Faleomavaega, America Samoa; Rep. Donna Christensen, Virgin Islands; Steve Landefeld, Director of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce.

The U.S. Department of Commerce released newly-developed Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistics for American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The statistics are a product of a joint effort of the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Interior Department’s Office of Insular Affairs. Policy makers will now have an objective view of the size of these economies, their growth or contraction, and their major components in order to conduct economic-impact analysis on the effects of local and national policy decisions. (More)

Secretary Locke Joins HHS Secretary Sebelius for Web Chat on New Benefits in Affordable Care Act

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined Health and Human Services Secretary Kathlee

Image: HHS Web chat

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for a live Web chat today on a new reinsurance program that will help U.S. firms cover the health care costs of their early retirees. The program makes available $5 billion of financial assistance to businesses, state and local governments and unions to help them cover health care costs for those 55 and older not yet eligible for Medicare. The Web chat is available on-demand here. For more information, visit http://www.healthreform.gov/. (healthreform.gov en español) (White House health care Web site) (Fact sheet) (DOC May 4 release) (Secretary Sebelius May 4 release)

NOAA: Deepwater Incident, Gulf of Mexico Effort

Trajectory map--PDF.

The Deepwater Horizon incident declared a Spill of National Significance (SONS). A SONS is defined as "a spill that, due to its severity, size, location, actual or potential impact on the public health and welfare or the environment, or the necessary response effort, is so complex that it requires extraordinary coordination of federal, state, local and responsible party resources to contain and clean up the discharge," and allows greater federal involvement. Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is assisting the Unified Command in evaluating a new technique to apply dispersants to oil at the source—5000’ below the surface. If successful, this would keep plumes and sheens from forming. (More) (NOAA-Deepwater) (Trajectory map 1—PDF) (IncidentNews: Deepwater Horizon)

Secretary Locke Celebrates Earth Day at Recovery Act Restoration Project in New Jersey

Photo of globe.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today celebrated Earth Day at an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) restoration project that is putting people back to work transforming a local dump into 35 acres of wetland and creating a new public trail in Lincoln Park. “The jobs that are being created here in New Jersey are a critical and growing part of the green economy,” Locke said. “Not only are coastal restoration projects like this one directly employing people, they are preserving the coastlines that are absolutely essential to America's economy.” (Release) (Remarks)

Commerce Secretary Locke Addresses Economic Development Professionals at Federal Forum

U.S. Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered remarks at the International Economic Development Council’s (IEDC) Federal Economic Development Forum today. Locke spoke about the critical role federal economic development agencies play in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship within local communities. The IEDC works to help economic development professionals create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities and improve the quality of life in their regions. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez joined Locke at the forum. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Visits San Diego to Stress Importance of Exports in Competitiveness and Job Creation

Locke with Canadian Minister of Industry Tony Clement and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Gerardo Ruiz. Clicke for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Solar Turbines, one of California’s top exporters, for a tour of the company’s facility and a discussion with local small business owners on how the National Export Initiative will help small- and medium-sized businesses grow and create jobs in their community. Locke viewed the exporting process for industrial gas turbine engines from assembly through shipment to nearly 100 countries. Earlier in the day, he delivered the keynote address at the North American Competitiveness, Innovation & Clean Energy 2010 Conference Luncheon. He also met with Canadian Minister of Industry Tony Clement and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Gerardo Ruiz. (Solar Turbines remarks) (NAC remarks) (Release)

Deputy Secretary Hightower, Rep. Peters Host Roundtable with Michigan Small Business Owners

U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower joined Rep. Gary Peters in Farmington Hills, Mich. to meet with local small business owners, representatives from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Detroit Regional Chamber, to discuss the current business climate, growing manufacturing jobs and spotlight initiatives that are working to help improve Michigan’s economy. Hightower underscored the department’s commitment to provide technical and business assistance to small manufacturers. (Remarks)

Rick Wade to Kick Off National Main Street Business Tour in Michigan

Wade on podium. Click for larger image.

Rick Wade, Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, will travel to Battle Creek and Jackson, Michigan to kick off a national tour that will take him to Main Streets across the country to meet with business leaders and hear directly from them about the challenges they face in this economy, taking their concerns and ideas back to Washington. Wade will meet one-on-one with business leaders, talk to larger groups at chambers of commerce and tour local plants and manufacturing centers during tour stops. (Remarks)

Census Bureau Says It's Not Too Late to Mail Back 2010 Census Forms

2010 Census logo. Click to go to Web site.

As elected officials and community leaders across the nation take part in “Census Day” activities to increase local participation in the 2010 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau today announced that 54 percent of the nation’s estimated 134 million households have mailed back their census forms. While April 1 is officially designated as Census Day, the Census Bureau will continue to accept 2010 Census questionnaires by mail through mid-April. (More) (2010 Census Facts for Features) (Take 10 participation map)

Secretary Locke Appears on "The Daily Show," Discusses 2010 Census

Locke and Stewart shown during interview. Click for larger image of screenshot.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke appeared on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” and discussed the 2010 Census now underway. In the interview, Locke noted that the census is completely confidential. Information provided to the Census Bureau is protected by law from being shared with other federal, state and local agencies. Even the provisions of the Patriot Act do not override census privacy protections. He also noted that for every one percent increase in the number of people who mail back their census forms, taxpayers save about $85 million. (Video clip part 1, part 2)

Census Bureau Makes Special Efforts for Complete Count of Hurricane Affected Areas in the Gulf Coast

Hightower at table.

U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis F. Hightower met with local government officials and community leaders to assess the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 Census efforts to ensure a complete count of Gulf Coast residents affected by hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike. “We hired early, provided extra training, added an extra local office, increased pay rates, and are delivering the form to any housing unit that is or may be habitable—all to ensure a complete count in hurricane-affected areas of the Gulf Coast,” Hightower said. (More) (2010 Census Web site)

Secretary Locke Promotes National Export Initiative During Tour of Local Manufacturing Facility

Locke talking to facility works while touring. Click for larger image.

Following on the heels of President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to double U.S. exports in the next five years, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Ellicott Dredges in Baltimore, Md., to discuss export strategy and toured the company’s manufacturing facility. During his visit, Locke, joined by Congressman John Sarbanes, met with local businesses and discussed the National Export Initiative (NEI) and highlighted the role the Commerce Department continues to play in supporting U.S. businesses like Ellicott Dredges. (More) (Remarks)

National and Local Organizations Help Increase Awareness as 2010 Census Partnerships Grow to 200,000

Marquee of 2010census.gov Web site. Click to go to Web site.

The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians has become the 200,000th partner for the 2010 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. The number of partners supporting the 2010 Census exceeds the 140,000 that signed on to support the 2000 Census. To date, partners have donated 35,088 training locations, saving taxpayers an estimated $338.5 million in rent. The Red Lake Nation, based in Red Lake, Minn., joins a long list of local and national organizations and corporations, as well as other American Indian-Alaska Native nations, working to promote participation in the 2010 Census. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces Expanded Commerce-UPS Partnership to Boost U.S. Exports, Support Job Creation

Secretary Locke with UPS vehicles. Click for larger image.

On the heels of President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to double U.S. exports in the next five years, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and UPS CEO and Chairman Scott Davis announced new steps in an expanded partnership between UPS and the Department of Commerce that is designed to increase U.S. exports among small- and medium-sized businesses. Locke and Davis also met with local business leaders to discuss the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI) and how it will help American companies become more competitive while supporting job creation here at home. (More) (Remarks)

NOAA National Weather Service to Use New Hurricane Wind Scale

Satellite image of Hurricane Ike, 2008. Click for larger image.

NOAA’s National Weather Service will use a new hurricane scale this season called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The scale keeps the same wind speed ranges as the original Saffir-Simpson Scale for each of the five hurricane categories, but no longer ties specific storm surge and flooding effects to each category. Changes were made to the Saffir-Simpson Scale because storm surge values and associated flooding are dependent on a combination of the storm’s intensity, size, motion and barometric pressure, as well as the depth of the near-shore waters and local topographical features. (More)

Alaska: 2010 Census is Underway in Noorvik

Groves in dogsled. Click for larger image.

U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves traveled by dog sled today and visited residents in the remote Alaskan village of Noorvik, north of the Arctic Circle. There he met with the mayor and local leaders before a team of huskies guided him to a local residence to perform the first 2010 Census enumeration. Census takers must get a head start in Noorvik and other villages in remote Alaska before residents leave for hunting and fishing grounds and while the ground is frozen, which allows access to the region by bush plane, dog sled and snowmobile. (2010 Census Web site)

Secretary Locke Announces $15.6 Million Grant to restore St. Louis Port

Secretary Locke with Commerce seal and flag in background.

File photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced a $15.6 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to reconstruct the St. Louis Municipal Terminal’s South Dock, which was damaged by extensive flooding in 2008. Three local St. Louis businesses served by the port met with Locke and Mayor Francis Slay before a City Hall news conference this morning to discuss the impact of ensuring the continuation of the area’s supply chain of river-related commerce. “Reconstruction of the critically important South Dock saves existing jobs and creates new ones by strengthening local connections to the global marketplace,” Locke said. (More) (Remarks)

Census Bureau Director Groves Gives Update on 2010 Census

Groves addressing the press. Click for larger image.

Dr. Robert Groves, director of the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau, updated the media on the status of the 2010 Census, announcing that an operation to update the Census Bureau’s address list earlier this year was successful and completed ahead of schedule. The address list will also continue to be updated throughout the next several months, as we approach Census Day, April 1, 2010, ensuring that every household will receive a questionnaire or be visited by a census worker. Dr. Groves also announced that all 494 local census offices across the nation are now open and recruiting has begun in targeted local areas. (2010 Census Web site) (2010 Census Blog)

Secretary Locke, Mayor Franklin Announce 2010 ACF to be Held in Atlanta

Americas Competitiveness Forum 2009 logo. Click to visit ACF Web site.

At the closing of the 2009 Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) in Chile, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin announced that the United States will host the next ACF in Atlanta in the fall of 2010. “I look forward to working with the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia, the local business community and other stakeholders to convene the 2010 ACF in the Peach State,” Locke said. “The ACF is a unique opportunity for the Americas to work together on issues critical to the economic prosperity of the region.” (More) (ACF 2009 Web site)

Secretary Locke Discusses Goals for a Clean Energy Economy with Governors Granholm and Doyle

Locke and participants at clean energy forum. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Executive Director of the White House Council on Auto Communities and Workers Ed Montgomery, and Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy and International Affairs David Sandalow joined Governors Jennifer Granholm (D-Mich.) and Jim Doyle (D-Wisc.) in hosting a Clean Energy Economy Forum with local and regional stakeholders in Saginaw, Mich. The group discussed the administration’s vision for a comprehensive energy plan to jump-start the American clean energy sector and create millions of new jobs developing technologies that will cut pollution while producing alternative sources of energy. (More)

Locke Travels to Massachusetts, Highlights Administration Commitment to Economic Recovery, Focus on 2010 Census

Secretary Locke with technician at Cambridge Innovation Center. Click for larger image.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke traveled to Massachusetts to highlight the Obama administration’s efforts to turn around the economy by supporting innovation and spurring clean energy job growth. In Cambridge, Locke held a town hall meeting with local business leaders and toured the Cambridge Innovation Center, as well as the Genzyme Corp. headquarters building, designed in an environmentally friendly way. In the evening, Locke addressed the annual national convention of the Asian American Journalists Association in Boston, focusing on the 2010 Census and its profound effects on the future of U.S. residents and communities. (Remarks)

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Visits Tampa for Town Hall and NABJ Convention

Locke speaking before audience with Census 2010 logo.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Tampa today to hold a town hall meeting on trade and discuss the 2010 Census at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Annual Convention. The town hall was held at the Tampa Port Authority, where Locke and local business leaders addressed the Department’s trade priorities and the administration’s commitment to grow U.S. exports across the economy. At the NABJ convention, Locke emphasized the importance of Census participation and the critical role journalists can play increasing awareness about the decennial count. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Visits Philadelphia for Conversation on Future of Urban and Metropolitan America

Image of Mayor Nutter, Secretary Locke and reporter with microphone in store. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Philadelphia today to kick off the Obama Administration’s National Conversation on Urban and Metropolitan America. This was the first stop in a nationwide tour that will help develop the President’s new urban agenda. Locke was joined by Adolfo Carrion, Director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Ron Sims for a town hall discussion with local experts about the development of Pennsylvania’s Fresh Food Initiative and efforts to encourage supermarket development in urban areas.

Secretary Locke, Governor O'Malley Urge Americans to Get Ready for TV Transition

Residents of Liberty Senior Center listen as Secretary Locke addresses the group. Click for larger image.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley encouraged Americans to prepare for the June 12 switch to digital television at a community gathering at Liberty Senior Center in Randallstown, Maryland. Secretary Locke commended local volunteers who are assisting senior citizens who rely on over-the-air television in their community with the upcoming digital transition. “The national switch to digital television is just around the corner, and there won’t be another delay,” said Secretary Locke. (More)

National Trademark Expo Set for USPTO Campus May 8-9

Kiosk with sign publicizing expo.

Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will present a National Trademark Expo May 8 and 9. A ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. will kick off the two day event. The Expo will be held on the agency’s campus in Alexandria, Virginia. In addition to Trademark Exhibitors, local businesses will also participate in the Expo. The Expo will highlight anti-counterfeiting efforts and how counterfeit goods cause great harm to the economy. The Expo is free, fun and informative for the whole family. (More)

Census Bureau Opens Local Census Office in Richmond

Richmond, VA Local Census Office opening on January 29, 2009.  Pictured from left to right:  Randall Williams, Richmond Local Census Office Manager. Somonica L. Green, deputy regional director, Charlotte Region. Dwight C. Jones, Mayor of Richmond. Arnold A. Jackson, Associate director for the Decennial Census, US Census Bureau. and lastly the Honorable Henry L. Marsh III, Virginia State Senate, District 16. Click for larger image.

Mayor of Richmond Dwight C. Jones and Virginia State Senator Henry L. Marsh III joined the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau officials in officially opening the local census office in Richmond. This office will employ about 1,000 personnel during peak operations for the 2010 Census. The Census Bureau is expected to open about 500 local census offices across the country and hire approximately 1.4 million people for the 2010 Census.